Janesville61.8°

ANGI considers move to former Gilman plant

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JAMES P. LEUTE
December 20, 2011
— A Milton-based maker of natural gas compression equipment has a strong interest in relocating its operation and 100 or so employees to Janesville.

So strong, in fact, that it has met with its potential Janesville neighbors and has asked the city for a zoning amendment on truck traffic at the former Gilman/ThyssenKrupp factory at 305 W. Delavan Drive.


Representatives of ANGI Energy Systems, however, were unavailable Monday to discuss the potential move.


ANGI's possible departure from Milton became public earlier this year when the city of Milton expressed an interest in moving its library, City Hall and police and fire departments into the former Burdick building, where ANGI now has about 60,000 square feet of manufacturing and material handling floor space for gas and control panel assembly, compressor assembly, welding and fabrication, machining, and hydrostatic testing.


Terry McGuire and Tom Lasse of Badger Property Investments own the former Burdick building.


Lasse described ANGI as a "wonderful" company that needs more space to accommodate its growth.


He said he and McGuire have entered a contract to buy the former Gilman building and lease all 215,000 square feet of it to ANGI.


"We hope to have a closing in the next 30 days or so and start construction," Lasse said.


ANGI wants to build a separate testing facility at the site, he said.


Janesville's plan commission agreed Monday to set a public hearing for Tuesday, Jan. 3., on an ANGI request to amend a condition of the property's zoning. The change would allow deliveries to the east side of the facility off of Jerome Avenue. The previous zoning only allowed shipments out of the facility on that side.


Brad Schmidt, an associate planner with the city, said staff has not made a recommendation yet on the zoning change.


He said such a change would allow both shipping and receiving on the building's east side. When ThyssenKrupp operated the facility, outbound shipments left the east side of the plant while inbound shipments were handled on the building's west side.


ANGI officials met with neighbors last week to discuss the proposed changes in truck traffic.


Lasse, who attended the meeting, said neighbors were concerned that added truck traffic on the building's east side could pose a danger to children playing along Jerome Avenue. He also said neighbors noted that because of the street's width, backing into the facility has in the past created problems.


Lasse said ANGI's low-volume operation would result in six to eight trucks a day delivering to the facility, and some of them would be smaller UPS-type vehicles. He also said he believes ANGI has a solution to the backing issue.


Schmidt said ANGI officials told the city that the facility would make one or two outbound shipments a day.


Schmidt said that while ANGI has not signed a lease for the facility, a change in the shipping limitations could benefit any company considering the building.


Robert Sage Jr., who lives on Jerome Avenue across from the shipping docks, said he supports a new business at the vacant plant.


But, he said, there are trucking alternatives that don't involve his street, which he said has become more populated in the last few years with younger children.


He said ANGI or any other company could use a network of existing roads on the property's southern end to avoid Jerome Avenue all together.


In the past, truck drivers have turned south off of Delavan Drive onto to Jerome Avenue. They drove to the railroad tracks and then backed blindly into the Gilman lot. On occasion, that resulted in ripped up lawns and sideswiped vehicles and fire hydrants, he said.


Sage said he's also concerned with the speed at which the project is moving, at least as it was presented to neighbors.


"They say it's not a sure thing, yet, that they're just kicking it around, but they're going to have a public hearing on it on Jan. 3 and then vote on it Jan. 26," he said. "I'm not sure what the hurry is."



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